Today, I chat with Jason Barnard for a second time. Jason’s releasing a couple of new courses that you should definitely check out.
Welcoming Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and Introducing the Topic of Brand SERPs and Jason’s Courses
[00:00:00] Craig Campbell: So, welcome to today’s podcast or webinar, whatever you want to call it. It goes out everywhere. And I’m joined for the second time by Mr. Jason Barnard. How are you?
[00:00:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m fine. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me back. It’s great. I love the sign behind you.
[00:00:19] Craig Campbell: I’m just trying to, yeah. I actually seen that on, it was a sponsored Facebook ad. I’m like, I need that. I need something to break up the boring background. But yeah, no, it’s good to have you back on for a second time. I think I’ve been on your podcast twice, but it’s good to get you back on this time to talk about some of the stuff that you’re currently doing, which is your courses. And we’re talking about the Brand SERP.
[00:00:50] Craig Campbell: So, I think it was maybe a year ago or something we last had join in. I think in that year, a lot’s probably changed for you. You’ve now done a hell of a lot of other stuff. You’ve done your year on the road doing the digital nomad stuff, probably found yourself a little bit as well. And you’re now seen as this Brand SERP Guy, who go to a number of talks, or the Knowledge Panel guy or whatever the hell you want to call it. And that’s obviously a great thing.
[00:01:22] Craig Campbell: I think we all have an identity in the world, whether someone thinks I’m some crazy black hat guy or off their head Scottish guy. We all have a certain identity, if you like. He’s the posh English boy that has a London agency, posh Scottish kid or English guy, but you get what I’m saying.
Picking Brand SERPs as a Specialisation, Getting People to Be on Board With Its Idea, and Creating the Courses
[00:01:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And it was you who said to me you were sitting on the beach in Tel Aviv and you said, it’s all well and good, Jason, knowing about everything and being super knowledgeable about all the different elements of SEO, but you have to have a specialisation. You pick one. And I actually had picked one. And I’ve been doing Brand SERPs for seven years now, but nobody was listening to me, nobody was interested, nobody thought it was important.
[00:02:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what was interesting in the last year is it’s picked up. I’ve managed to get people on board with the idea. And when I say to people, Google is your new business card, that makes immense sense to people. They immediately think, right, okay. I talk to somebody. They look me up on Google. What appears on Google when they search my name is incredibly important to the opinion they will then have of me moving forward, either myself as a person or my brand or even my product for that matter.
[00:02:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, I’ve managed to specialise in that, get people on board, get people talking about it, and get these courses done, which was the other thing you told me was find a way to monetise what it is you’re doing. And that’s the point because I can’t optimise everybody’s Brand SERP. There are too many. Brand SERPs are a niche because very few people talk about it, but they’re essential to everybody. So, they’re the least niche in the entire world.
[00:02:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the idea of the course is to say, actually, optimising and organising your Brand SERP is not difficult or complicated. If you know SEO, it’s really simple, as long as you know what you need to do. And the course for somebody who knows SEO is going to tell you what you need to do to do it most efficiently and not waste time making the mistakes I made over the last seven years.
[00:03:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you don’t know SEO, it will teach you simply to get into how you can actually adapt it. And it teaches you SEO along the way, which is something Dave Davies was saying to me. It does a nice trick of helping you optimise your Brand SERP, making yourself look good on your Google business card, but also teaching you SEO good, and as you said earlier on, common sense.
The Importance of Optimising Your Brand SERPs When Someone Writes Something Negative About You
[00:03:40] Craig Campbell: Obviously. But I think the reason that you probably have in the past where people don’t talk about it as much. People end up doing SEO or they start doing something, they start doing a bit of optimisation for their sales, normally based around their services. Then they get lazy and they don’t really think of the importance of the Brand SERP.
[00:04:01] Craig Campbell: And when people hear Jason is doing a Brand SERP talk, they’re probably like, really, that man? Why is he not focused on long tail keywords, product specific stuff, and stuff like that? Because people have that money mindset where they’re going, fuck the Brand SERP, let’s go after the money keywords and stuff like that.
[00:04:27] Craig Campbell: However, I think it’s a really important thing. I’ve also been that guy where I’ve went fucking hell, Jason. Not Jason specifically, but maybe I have. I don’t know. But just Brand SERP, that’s a fluffy bullshity thing. It’s like common sense for me. Everyone really should rank for the brand, but how serious is it?
[00:04:48] Craig Campbell: And it’s not until, say for example, someone writes something negative about you. And this is just one example of why you want to probably go after your Brand SERPs, and we’ll go into other reasons. But, someone writes an article about me, something they don’t like in terms of what I’ve said and add my name into it and try and optimise it for my brand. That could be damaging in a number of ways.
Proactive Online Reputation Management: Controlling Every Element on Your SERP Before It Becomes a Problem
[00:05:16] Craig Campbell: And I’ve obviously got to set out. I’ve not spent years and years and years of my time speaking on stage and never tried to build a brand for some halfwit to try and damage it. So, that’s why it’s really important that I can have all of that stuff. And that’s something I’ve obviously been trying to do over the last year or so. And I think it’s not that I didn’t really, you know what, it wasn’t just that instance where I thought I need to do it. It’s just you see everyone else doing it. And you’ve also got a bit of ego to it where you’re like, Jason Barnard has got a bloody Knowledge Panel. I’ve know a good one. I need one.
[00:05:52] Craig Campbell: But I think, from a real business point of view, is really, really important because people are becoming slyer. People can make parasites on medium or whatever and rank for your brand and steal an element of your traffic. There’s loads of different little ways where people can hack your traffic, if you like, or cause problems for your reputation.
[00:06:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s the point. What you were talking about is what I would call proactive online reputation management. If you’ve got control of every element on that first page and the second page, it’s very difficult for somebody else to rank with one of those tricks to try and get in your face.
[00:06:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I had a client as well whose competitor was ranking for their brand name. That got them really annoyed. It’s incredibly annoying. They hadn’t controlled it proactively, and it was very difficult to get rid of that competitor because we had to build up the content around it to push that up. So if you can do it now before it becomes a problem, you’ve got a really big advantage. If it ever does become a problem, you can sort it out. You said you sorted yours out in a few weeks.
When You Start Working in Brand SERPs, There Are Some Really Quick Wins, Then You Need to Learn to Be Patient
[00:06:55] Craig Campbell: Yeah. I think for me though, it has taken me a good year to probably do it to some degree. I’ve not done everything. I’ve still not get the Knowledge Panel. Someone’s working on that for me. But I think a lot of people think as well, this Brand SERP thing is just quick and easy, bang, bang, bang. It’s not. Can you give us a bit of insight as to if someone start out as a new brand, unknown, it’s one of those endless tasks, right? After a year, you’re going to own so much of the brand search. After two, if you continue to do that, you’re going to own even more of that landscape. So, there’s not even, it takes six months to dominate this. Would that be right?
[00:07:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. Well, in fact, when you start working, there are some really quick wins. The first course, the fundamentals course basically goes through the quick wins, your social media channels, your own site, getting those Rich Sitelinks up there to take up some of the SERP space. Those are my quick wins that you can actually do in a few weeks. Some of them even a few hours. I’ve got one where the lessons actually shows you how to get the homepage to update within minutes, an hour, or even hours. So, some of it is very quick, and you get that really nice feeling of a really good, quick start.
[00:08:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you have to learn to be patient and you look at the rest of it. And as you said, in six months, you can start to feel that those non-controlled elements where you don’t control them directly, you’re controlling it indirectly. And you can control an awful lot of content about yourself, even if it’s indirectly, or you get rid of the stuff you don’t like. You push up other stuff you do like from page two onto page one, get rid of that stuff. And it doesn’t have to be negative. You can get rid of stuff that just doesn’t put you in the best light possible and big yourself up, put all that great stuff on the SERP.
Even After Seven Years, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Is Still Working With His Brand SERP and Doing Experiments
[00:08:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then as you said, after a year, you’re saying, yeah, now I’ve got hold of it. After two years, you’re saying, now I’ve really got hold of it. And it’s very, very difficult for somebody else to come and impinge on your Brand SERP as it were. And I’ve been doing it for seven years. And I thought after seven years it’s going to be done and dusted, but I’m actually still working on it.
[00:08:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we had a nice trick. It was really interesting with Andrea Volpini from WordLift, where he has a program that writes a summary of what the SERP shows. So, it will write you a summary and say this is what I understand. It wrote a summary of myself that I didn’t appreciate. I thought it could have been better. He did that on the Friday. And then on Saturday morning, I sat down and said, what can I do to change that summary?
[00:09:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Saturday and Sunday, I worked on it. Tuesday, he rerun the program, and the summary was completely different and exactly what I wanted. And he said, Jason Barnard is using Google as his own CMS, which was a really nice way putting it. And so, you get to the point where you can actually control in a couple of days what Google is showing about you pretty simply and easily. And it’s a question of a couple of hours work. Whereas as you said, if you haven’t started, it’s a year before you can do that.
If You’ve Got Control of Your Brand SERP, Reputation Problems Is Not Going to Be a Big Issue for You
[00:09:46] Craig Campbell: Yeah. I think people should probably start to implement this at the start of the online strategy or if not, obviously start implementing it now, but I think a lot of guys out there think simply by having their own website that has to protect them their own brand. And that’s just naive. I’ve seen it with loads of people. I do a lot of online reputation management stuff as well. Someone paints a bad review on something like Glassdoor or one of those websites and boom, they’re like, get that Glassdoor thing to fuck, get rid of it. How can they do this? And yeah, obviously, you’ve been doing online reputation management, and I think a few of those do happen all the time.
[00:10:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I tend not to get involved in the online reputation management business, just in the sense that I’m not here to solve people’s bad press. I’m here to help them make themselves look great on the Brand SERP and also prevent that bad press from surfacing should it ever occur. So, it’s proactive ORM rather than ORM. That said, obviously as you say, sorting out people’s reputation problems is a) not just your Brand SERP. It goes well beyond that. But on your Brand SERP, if you’ve got control, it really isn’t going to be a big problem for you.
Brand SERPs Are Interesting Because They Are Bottom-of-Funnel and Post-Funnel; It’s a Question of Being Positive, Accurate, and Convincing
[00:11:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But moving on to the next, for me, the next reason why Brand SERPs are incredibly interesting and people tend to forget is it’s bottom-of-funnel and post-funnel. So if I’m thinking about buying from Craig Campbell, I will search your name before purchasing from you. And what appears on that Brand SERP affect what I think about you and whether I actually move forwards or not.
[00:11:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s a question of being positive, accurate, and convincing. And that last one, obviously positive, accurate, we all want, but convincing is what you are talking about, the Knowledge Panel. If you’ve got a Knowledge Panel, wow, you’re convincing. You look important. If you’ve got video boxes, you look important. If you’ve got image boxes, you’ve got Twitter boxes, you’ve got podcast boxes, all of these things I’ve had on my Brand SERP at one time or another.
[00:11:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what then happens is people look me up and they think, oh, he really knows what he’s talking about because the only things that rank for me are my site, Wikipedia, image boxes, video boxes, Search Engine Journal, Semrush, the Knowledge Panel. And I look like an expert, which of course I am.
[00:12:05] Craig Campbell: If you ain’t, it is all about looking like one anyway. So that’s the main goal for anyone out there is to shed yourself in the best possible light.
[00:12:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then that bottom-of-funnel search, the person who’s searching bottom-of-funnel then converts much more. My example is in my business, I’ve gone from converting 50% of people I talk to about my services to 80%. And nobody argues about my prices anymore. So, I think my income has gone up by about 60-70% simply because my Brand SERP looks good. Before people actually sign on the dotted line, they search for me. They no longer argue and they convert much better. And so, that’s a really simple example of how it can improve your bottom line, and it’s well worth doing straight away.
Existing Customers See Your Brand SERP Multiple Times per Day Because They Navigate to Your Site by Searching Your Brand Name
[00:12:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is I think people tend to forget is existing customers navigate to your site by searching your brand name. And so, your existing customers potentially see that Brand SERP multiple times per day. Now if there’s something negative or your competitor is on there, you might lose them. That puts the little grain of doubt in their mind. But if every time they only ever see great stuff, accurate, positive, and convincing about you, they’re going to stay or they’re more likely to stay. And so, you’ve got, for me, those two bottom-of-funnel, post-funnel, brilliantly terribly, terribly valuable people searching your brand name.
[00:13:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, one more thing, sorry, before I passed back to you. The only person who searched your brand name are the people who matter to your business, journalists, potential hires, clients, prospects. I’m trying to think some more, partners, potential partners. All of these people, anybody searching your brand name matters to your business in one way or another.
Controlling Rich Elements Against Blue Links in the Brand SERP; Google Uses a Whole Page Algorithm
[00:13:56] Craig Campbell: So, obviously, all of that is all good and well. Now I want to go back to something you mentioned where you were saying you can get video boxes, you can get podcast boxes, images. Now when you’re doing, trying to actively grab the most amount of positions you possibly can for your brand, do you find, now because I don’t know the answer to this because I’m not a specialist. Do you find, say for example, you’ve got the video boxes and the podcast boxes and you’ve got your big Knowledge Graph and all that stuff, do you find that if you maybe over optimise something else that you’re trying to get it knocks off, like the video boxes? How much can you get? How much of that landscape can one greedy guy get?
[00:14:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s a really interesting question. And it’s actually very important. The Rich Elements course actually talks about this. And the idea is to say, right, Google is not going to get rid of the blue links. The blue links are the foundation. There are always going to be 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 blue links. It’s very difficult to get below five. Some brands manage to do it, but that isn’t the point.
[00:15:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google, what they’re going to do is swap out these Rich Elements. They have a whole page algorithm that decides which elements finally get a place. So if you optimise video boxes, image boxes, podcast, Twitter boxes, People Also Ask, that’s too many. It can’t put all of that on one page. So, they have an algorithm that decides which of those is going to be most valuable to your audience. And it will show that.
[00:15:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what I would say is, right, you want to start taking this place. The nice thing about these Rich Elements, which other people call SERP features, is that they take up, they often kill a blue link. So instead of having 10, you’ll only have nine. So, you’ve got less stuff to control. The other thing is they look great. They’re impressive. And you control a great deal of the images and the videos and the Twitter tweets directly that appear for you. So, it’s controlled content, and that’s incredibly important.
Start With Images, Think About Your Video Strategy and Twitter Strategy, Which Will Not Only Help Your Brand SERP But Also Your Overall Marketing Strategy
[00:15:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But you start off with the images because they’re easy to trigger. Then you go for the videos, which require a video strategy. So, you need to think about your video strategy. And that’s the double bonus is while you’re sorting out your Brand SERP by getting those video boxes, you’re actually developing a great video strategy. And you’re liable to rank elsewhere, get traffic on YouTube, build audiences on YouTube or on Twitter, on Facebook, which also rank very well for videos.
[00:16:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you’re not only helping your Brand SERP, but you’re helping your overall marketing strategy. Twitter Boxes. If you want the Twitter Boxes, you have to have a great Twitter strategy. So if you get the Twitter Boxes, you’ve already built that audience and built that interaction with your potential clients, your audience.
[00:16:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So whilst in with your Brand SERP, you’re actually sorting out, well, a great number of your digital marketing problems and sorting out your digital marketing ecosystem. The podcast was an interesting example. I managed to trigger those. And that killed my images, basically Google threw the images that, because the podcast is more interesting than the images for my audience.
The Importance of Having Engagement From Platforms Other Than Your Site Because a Lot of It Is Offsite SEO
[00:16:53] Craig Campbell: I can see that, I can see that, but that was what I was going ask you. Say for example, I was doing this for mine and I triggered the podcast and it got rid of my images and I’m like, bloody hell, I want my image back up there. Is it a case of trying to force more engagement back over to the image side of things or how would you manipulate that? Is it engagement? Is it something else?
[00:17:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Almost all of them are to do with engagement. In terms of Google will measure the engagement, it’s getting on other platforms. It should interest in concepts. So, it’s an awful lot is offsite SEO. So, you’re doing SEO on YouTube, you’re doing SEO on Twitter, on Facebook. You’re boosting the signals that Google sees. You’re basically trying to say to Google, this content is valuable and important to my users. And you can see that by the engagement I’m getting on these other platforms, because Google will rarely rank multiple pages from your own site.
[00:17:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have to do beyond that first homepage and perhaps another few links, the Sitelinks and links, maybe one or two links underneath sometimes, but you really need to get into your mind that you need these offsite optimisations going. A lot of it is offsite. And it’s, once again, sorting out your digital marketing strategy because it makes you, forces you to think about it. You won’t get the image boxes with just images on your site. You need them on other sites too.
Jason Managed to Remove His Podcasts on His Brand SERP by Moving It From His Personal Site to His Company Site
[00:18:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the question about the podcast is in fact images will tend not to come back as a rule because they’re not incredibly valuable, but I managed to kill my podcast on my Brand SERP as an experiment. And all I needed to do was move it to a new site. So, I moved it off my jasonbarnard.com, moved it to Kalicube.Pro, which is my company. And it killed it on my personal Brand SERP. And now I’m trying to get it to trigger on my company Brand SERP.
[00:18:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, in fact, you can manipulate, you can cheat. And you just need to use, once again, what you said earlier on, common sense. If I take the podcast off my site, it suddenly isn’t quite as associated with me. And that’s fundamentally important to this whole thing. Google will rank things that are closely associated to you. So, I distance myself from my podcast by putting it on my company site. It disappears from mine. I haven’t yet managed to trigger it on the company site, but I will.
Your Site Needs to Be the Principal and Trusted Source of Information About You
[00:19:07] Craig Campbell: So, here’s a question. Now, if I’ve got a podcast and it’s all listed on my own domain name, but I also have a podcast, I do it through Podbean. So, I’ve also got a secondary domain name where someone can go to craigcampbellpodcast.com. I’m assuming that in terms of trying to grab all your brand stuff, you’re better have everything combined on your own domain name rather than using Craig Campbell podcasts and stuff like that. Google will cleverly put them together, are they?
[00:19:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You can have both. But the one thing, and that brings me onto the most important, single most important question about Brand SERPs and brands and Knowledge Graphs and everything to do with this and entity based search, which you can explain in a moment, is that your site needs to be the principal and trusted source of information about you.
[00:20:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if that isn’t the case, you will never build anything decent as a brand online through Google, as it were. But what that means is saying your podcast needs to reside on your site for Google to see that close connection, but it doesn’t mean to say it can’t reside elsewhere too. It just means that your site needs to be the principle source that Google trusts.
Jason’s Experiment With Getting Google to Show a Featured Snippet Saying He Plays the Ukulele and Then Switching It to Double Bass
[00:20:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’ll give you an example about that trust, which was really interesting, was on my site. Obviously, my site is trusted for information about me, but I hadn’t realised quite how much, because I did a test last year. And I played the double bass. Google knows I play the double bass because I’ve been in bands and I’ve pushed that information into Google. And I actually posted an article that said, Jason Barnard plays the ukulele. And I got Google to show a featured snippet saying, what instrument does Jason Barnard play? And it said ukulele, because I told it I played the ukulele. And then I took ukulele off and replaced it with double bass. It switched back to bass.
[00:21:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, we have this thing and that was in literally five minutes. Within five minutes, I had the featured snippet showing. And that’s an incredibly interesting insight into how much you can control what Google shows about you on all sorts of queries around your brand, by being the trusted source that Google, basically it believes me off the bat, whatever I say to it.
Google Also Trusts Jason With Information About His Band, The Barking Dogs, and His Cartoon Series, Which Takes Years to Accomplish
[00:21:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing was for my group, The Barking Dogs. There was a confusion. And I convinced Google that my site was the official site for The Barking Dogs in claiming the Knowledge Panel. So, I now control the Knowledge Panel for The Barking Dogs and I can control much of the Brand SERP for them.
[00:21:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And now I’m pushing, I’ve made some cartoons in the naughties with blue dogs and yellow koalas, and I’m pushing that into the Knowledge Graph. And I’m doing that through my site. And Google will now believe anything I tell it about those characters on my site, because it’s understood that those characters, they don’t belong to me, but I created them. So, I have a very close relationship.
[00:22:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, the whole thing is common sense. We keep coming back to that. What do I have a close relationship with? How can I convince Google or indicate that close relationship, so that when I feed information through my site to Google about this entity, products, characters from cartoons, music groups, my job, my courses, or my podcast, as you were saying earlier on, that when I do feed that information to Google, it believes me off the bat, it believes my good word? And that’s trust. Google has to trust you. And that takes years.
Explaining the Concept of Entities: They Are Any Thing, Person, Brand, Place That Can Be Connected With Relationships
[00:22:37] Craig Campbell: Yeah. Obviously, that’s the thing. I’ve seen you, over the last few years, speaking, doing webinars, building up trust and authority within your own industry. And again, that’s something that how much money can you put on that, that time, you calculate it all. It’s a shit ton of money. But one other thing that you know is often said, and it’s a word that I’ve heard you say many times. And I just get the feeling that people who don’t feel they understand what we do will be like, what the fucking hell is he talking about? So, the word entities, when it comes to what you’re doing here, can you give us a bit of a background and some examples of good entities that we want to be beyond basically?
[00:23:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think entities is actually quite a large term. If we have an entity which is Jason Barnard, a thing. It could be a person, a brand, a place, a road, doesn’t matter, a thing, a chair. Jason Barnard is an entity. Craig Campbell is an entity. And what Google tries to understand is this Craig Campbell and this specific Jason Barnard, there are 250 Jason Barnards and about 2000 million Craig Campbells in the world.
[00:23:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s trying to identify which one we’re talking about. So if we say Craig Campbell knows Jason Barnard, we have two entities, named entities. That’s me and you, and a relationship, which is knows. If we take my sister, Clio Barnard, she’s a film director. Clio Barnard is the sister of Jason Barnard. And that’s really simple. Two entities, my sister and me, with a relationship, which is sibling.
[00:24:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that’s what entities are all about, but it actually goes beyond that. Because we can say Craig Campbell, entity, talks to, relationship, Jason Barnard, entity, about Brand SERPs, entity. Brand SERPs is a concept, and yet it’s an entity. So, you need to think about it. What is a thing? It’s a person, a place, a company, a brand, a product, a building, but also a concept like price, like Brand SERP, like philosophy, like SEO is an entity too. And what we’re trying to do is say to Google Jason Barnard has a relationship with SEO, Jason Barnard has a relationship with Craig Campbell, Jason Barnard has a relationship with Jason Barnard’s podcast.
You Need to Build Relationships, Create Them, and Indicate Them; The Closer, the Stronger, and the Longer the Relationships Are, the Better
[00:25:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That whole thing you were talking about with going around the world, talking to people, building relationships, one is there is no shortcut. There isn’t a shortcut to building these relationships. You have to have them in order to be able to indicate them to Google. You’re not going to get very far cheating on that. So, you need to actually build the relationships, create the relationships, and then indicate them. And importantly, the relationships need the closer, the stronger, and the longer, the better.
[00:25:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, an example of the closest, strongest, longest relationship is for example, my mother. That’s close, that’s strong, and it’s forever. Jason, Barnard made a TV series. That’s close because I made it. That’s long lasting because it will never change. I will always be the person who created that. And it’s very strong. So when we’re communicating with Google about entities, we’re looking to communicate entities with relationships, things with relationships, and making sure that Google understands how close, how strong, and how long they are.
[00:26:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): An example about long is I was the boss of a company in France from 1991 to 1996. It’s important that Google understands that that relationship is now over, because I’ve replaced it with a new one with my new company. And if you search for Jason Barnard professions or Jason Barnard jobs, you’ll see it has six or seven jobs listed. And that’s important that Google understands a) I have relationships with multiple jobs, but also that some of those jobs are now over. So, you have the concept of relationships and time, which makes it really complicated.
Your Site Is the Place to Put Information If Google Trusts It; Google Also Tends to Look at Wikidata, But It Still Needs Multiple Corroborations
[00:26:54] Craig Campbell: Yeah, no, it’s a complicated thing, which brings me nicely onto the next part. And I know you, I don’t want for you to unravel too much, because obviously you’ve got a lot of stuff in your course and stuff like that, but where can you even give us the top two places or the top or an example of a place where Google would pull that data from? So, I am now owner of Kalicube, for example, I bought that from Jason Barnard. What one place would you reckon, because I know there’s a number of them, but is there one place that you’d reckon I could go so that I can tell Google this has happened and give them that story? Where would they do that?
[00:27:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, there are actually two answers to that question. Once you’ve been working on it for as long as I have, let’s say anything over three years, and you’ve convinced Google that your site is the principal and trusted source of information about yourself, your site is the place to put it. Your site needs to be the place. So, you place information, and then you push it out to other sources.
[00:28:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The one place that Google is currently looking that will tend to work is Wikidata, but Wikidata on its own will never do it either. You can’t just rely on one source, because what Google is looking for is multiple corroborations from trusted independent sources that this piece of information is true. Because when it’s looking at entities and relationships, it’s looking at facts. It’s not saying, I think this is true. It’s saying, I know this is true. So, it’s really sticking it’s neck out.
Knowledge Panels Show Facts; They Cite Information From Different Sources, Like Crunchbase, Not Just Wikipedia
[00:28:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you think about the Knowledge Panels on the right compared to the featured snippets, the featured snippet is this is what I think is the best answer I have found online. It’s the answer I recommend. Whereas the Knowledge Panel is this is fact. And the fact that I’m fighting a site, it doesn’t have to be Wikipedia. People tend to think it’s only Wikipedia that’s cited in Knowledge Panels. That’s not true. I’ve got 1,600, probably almost 2000 now, different sources that are cited in Knowledge Panels. And Google is saying, this is fact, and this site, this source, this site that I’m citing is trusted.
[00:29:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you end up with a situation where I would, my go-to place is Wikidata, but that doesn’t mean to say just Wikidata will do. So, obviously, you have to do the course or listen to me for a lot longer to learn all the other ones. There are, I can tell you another, Crunchbase is another great place. But what it truly comes down to, and I’d like to end this particular comment on that, is my site is the place I place all this information. Everything else is just corroboration.
Working With Brand SERPs Is All Good Common Sense; The Problem With Automated Service Is Closing the Loops
[00:29:50] Craig Campbell: Yeah. No, that makes sense. And the one fatal thing I want to ask you, then I’m going to ask you a couple of things about the course itself. It obviously seems like a lot of hard work doing all this, and I’m sure it is a lot of hard work doing it, sorting all of this stuff out. But when you say go-to places like Wikidata and stuff like that, is there a service or a tool where I can go in and say, Craig Campbell has featured in a film or something, and it puts it out to a whole bunch of different websites? Is there such a thing or is that something you would totally advise against?
[00:30:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There isn’t anybody who’s doing that right now. If somebody did start doing it and they did it properly, then I would say that’s a very good thing because it saves a lot of time. Basically, none of this is complicated. Absolutely none of what I do is complicated. It’s all good common sense, as we said. It just takes time, and you need to be really careful. The problem with any kind of automated service is always going to be closing the loops. And it’s loops that we see as humans that machines don’t necessarily see.
[00:31:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There were another case where you’re saying Google is so much more intelligent than all these other machines that are trying to trick or manipulate Google. It’s so much more intelligent that another machine won’t see the loops that Google sees. One example of that, and it was an interesting example, is I created a Knowledge Panel for my daughter, for my wife, for nine characters from the cartoon series, for my group.
[00:31:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I made one mistake, and it was my ex-wife. I didn’t close all the loops. And Google ended up creating a second Knowledge Panel for her instead of integrating the information I was giving into the one I had already created. So, we ended up with two Veronique Barnards. One of whom was a musical artist. The other of whom was mother of Leonor-Jo Barnard, who’s my daughter. So when I created this Knowledge Panel for my daughter, it thought, okay, this is a new Veronique Barnard that I didn’t know before. So, we had two of them.
Merging Two Knowledge Graph Entities; People Think the Knowledge Graph Is Very Slow to React, But It Isn’t
[00:32:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And somebody was asking on Twitter, how do you merge two Knowledge Graph entities? And I basically said, I don’t know, but I’m about to find out. And it took me three weeks to merge these two, that mistake, to correct the mistake I made.
[00:32:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what is interesting here is people think the Knowledge Graph is very slow to react, but it isn’t. I can create a Knowledge Panel or a sprout, as I call them, the beginnings of a Knowledge Panel, or correct one in a few weeks simply by correcting the information, closing all the loops, making sure that all the information corresponds, and making sure that that fundamentally important base site source of information about this entity is updated correctly.
Craig Campbell’s Difficulties in Creating His Own Wikipedia Page and the Common Problems When Getting One
[00:32:45] Craig Campbell: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. Now one last thing, I know I said that before. I’ve got a quick thing to ask you, and it’s just more of a personal thing. Now, a lot of this stuff you said people think it’s all about Wikipedia, which I know is not. There’s a lot more to it. Google’s not that dumb. However, a Wikipedia page is important, right? I would say.
[00:33:13] Craig Campbell: Now, here is a situation or a scenario. So, two or three years ago, I put up a post on Upwork asking if I could get a Wikipedia page made for myself. So, that’s fine. People came back, where all different places, said that there’s not enough PR about you, come back in a few months or whatever, which was fine.
[00:33:36] Craig Campbell: Now, I met a friend about a year ago. And he’s like, I’ve been a Wikipedia editor for the last 12 years, I’m trusted, I can do this, I can do that, I can sort you out with a Wikipedia page. So, I’m like, go for it. So, he picks up this Wikipedia page, took months to do it. And someone in the community said to him, is this Wikipedia page about commercial activity? And he said, no, it’s not. It’s definitely not because it wasn’t. It was more for me to just have a Wikipedia page and stuff. And so, he said no.
[00:34:13] Craig Campbell: And eventually when it was about to go live, they actually came to him and said, listen, mate, this is about commercial activity. And they pulled up that old Upwork ads that I had. So, obviously, someone is checking crazy things in the background. Now my friend actually said to me, you will never get a Wikipedia page now because I’ve done that. Is that the case?
Wikipedia’s Concept of Notability; Even With Jason’s Accomplishments, His Wikipedia Page Still Has Warnings in It
[00:34:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But there are two things here. One of which is you are now marked for life. The thing about Wikipedia is none of this ever goes away. Whatever you do, it’s always going to be there. So, you’re marked for life. And they do check very, very carefully. There’s an awful lot to check. Basically, the rules for Wikipedia are you need to be notable. And that means being a musician, writing a book, changing your industry, being in a film.
[00:35:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’ve been in films. I’ve written books. No, I haven’t written books, so I’m telling a complete lie. I was getting overexcited. I’ve been in a band. I’ve made records. All of these things make me notable, and yet my Wikipedia page still has warnings on it. And that’s because they’re very, very nervous about all of this. And you need to be able to prove that you are notable.
[00:35:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And there is an interesting distinction. It’s notable in a human sense. Now, what does that mean? It means that people will spontaneously look you up because they’re interested in where you come from and what you’ve done. And I don’t want to insult you, but that’s unlikely for you. You don’t have fans or you do have fans but not in the sense of a film star or a music star or somebody who’s written a book.
You Can Be More Seen as Notable If You Published Physical Books and Been in a Film, Rather Than Just Have SEO Content
[00:35:48] Craig Campbell: So, what if I was to tell you that I have three books that are published and I have been in a film?
[00:35:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, right, yeah. In that case, you maybe should have approached it from that point of view. They would publish it.
[00:36:02] Craig Campbell: The Wikipedia was basically just about SEO.
[00:36:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s it. I can’t tell you exactly what the circumstances were there. But if you’ve published a book that’s been pushed out into shops, physical books, it’s not a Kindle version of a self-published book, it’s physical books, physical albums, they become noteworthy in a Wikipedia sense. But I think it’s really important to take a couple of steps back and say, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia for humans. It needs to contain information that humans find interesting and helpful.
The Knowledge Graph Doesn’t Have a Concept of Notability; It Just Wants to Understand Who You Are and What You Do
[00:36:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The Knowledge Graph, which is Google’s version of Wikipedia, which is a machine readable, machine usable encyclopedia, doesn’t have that distinction. It doesn’t care if you’re notable or not. It just wants to understand who you are and what you do. And that’s phenomenally important. What we’re doing is feeding into Google’s Knowledge Graph who we are and what we do. And that’s what’s going to drive SEO from today onwards.
[00:37:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There’s a guy called Reede Brewster, who’s managed to create himself place in the Knowledge Graph and a brilliant Knowledge Panel. He’s a British gamer, no offense to him, but not famous in any meaningful manner. But he’s managed to create this Knowledge Panel simply by placing the information in the right places and doing it systematically and methodically over a period of time. It took him six months.
[00:37:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s very important. Google doesn’t care that he’s not famous. It just wants to understand who he is and what he does. And I think that’s the fundamentally important thing is maybe if people are looking to get in the Knowledge Graph or get a Knowledge Panel, forget Wikipedia, unless you are notable in a human sense and work on the other area. Sorry, go ahead.
Wikipedia and Wikidata Editors Are Removing the Pages of People From the SEO Industry; In Years Time, Google Will Learn to Trust Other Sources
[00:37:51] Craig Campbell: Yeah. Something like Brad Pitt, Hollywood star, something like that, rather than us saturate it for our own SEO egos.
[00:38:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that is part of the problem. The SEO community started creating lots of Wikipedia pages and Wikidata entries. And some people and some of the editors at Wikipedia and Wikidata have taken it very personally and are now removing them out of pure spite, as far as I can tell. And somebody like Eric Ange, who’s important to our industry, Barry Schwartz, important to our industry. The fact that these editors are removing or commenting or changing their entries is unfair in the sense that SEO is an industry. It’s a recognised industry. It’s an important industry. And we have to have representative experts. It doesn’t have to be you. It doesn’t have to be me, but it has to be somebody.
[00:38:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I would love for the Wikipedia and Wikidata people to come around and actually sit down and say, can we make a list of them? And it doesn’t, for me, really matter who it is, but just removing that spite is a real big pity. And having just done this, I’ll probably get mine removed out of spite. But in terms of my Wikipedia and Wikidata pages, I’m notable. There isn’t a debate about it. And yet I get the warning, and that’s frustrating.
[00:39:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But the good news is that a year ago, Google was as stupid as you suggested it was earlier on by relying almost entirely on Wikipedia. Now it’s starting to rely on Wikidata, but that’s changing very, very fast. So by the time, let’s say in years time, there will be a lot of other sources that are truly trusted, and we will be able to push this information. Google cannot afford to rely on Wikipedia and Wikidata forever.
More About the Courses Offered by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), How He Made Them, and How It Can Help You
[00:39:40] Craig Campbell: Yeah, no, it makes sense. That was the final question about that type of stuff. I do want to run a few questions past you in terms of your course. So, all of this good stuff and all this important stuff is really, really important for any business. Now, you’ve got your courses, which have been split up, which I think is a great idea, into five different options, or you can buy them all for 600 euros. You can either fill work spot. For example, if I wanted to be more focused on Knowledge Panels, you have you’re managing Knowledge Panel section there or you’ve got your optimising personal Brand SERPs or whatever.
[00:40:24] Craig Campbell: So if someone’s doing one of your courses and they want to do one of these, what is the course like? Is it over the shoulder tutorials? Do you basically give them a list of go and post here, here, here, and here? What’s it like? Because I know you mentioned earlier, which I think is probably quite important for us to emphasise, and I hope you don’t mind me saying this.
[00:40:50] Craig Campbell: You recorded it first. And then you looked at it and watched it and went, this is full of fucking fluff. And then you said you went away, restructured it, and now it’s meant to be full of information. And that’s what we want from a course. And that’s a point I want to hit home. It’s not a course where Jason’s talking a whole load of shit and going to read about the houses to tell you about one minute little detail, because we’ve all seen courses like that. This course is here’s what you need to do, go away and do it. Is that right?
Each Course Contains a Video, Resources Underneath to Explain the Details, and a Link to a Tool in Kalicube Pro if Needed
[00:41:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. What it is, that thing I did, I recorded the whole thing and realised it was full of fluff. And then I just did the transcript then rewrote the whole thing. I scripted the whole thing. So, it’s actually very, very compact. I took out anything that wasn’t useful. And I’ve had a few people doing the course, even experienced SEOs who say, I go through it and I have to keep stopping the video so I can take in everything that’s going on. And each course contains anything from two to three hours of video.
[00:41:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But the idea of having a to-do list, there are some things that everybody can do, for example, updating the meta title of the homepage. That’s the most obvious thing. So, obviously, I explain that in detail, but then the specifics for each case are always going to be different. So, what I’m teaching is what’s the approach that will allow you to understand what you need to do for your specific situation.
[00:42:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then I give resources underneath to explain the details, for example, exactly how to write Schema Markup. There’s no point in me explaining that in a course. What I can do is say you need Schema Markup. This is the one you need to focus on. This is what it’s going to do. This is where it’s feeding into. Look in the resources below. There’s a link to explain exactly how to write it or a link in this case to a tool on Kalicube.Pro, which is my site, that allows you to create the Schema Markup automatically.
The Courses Will Teach You Solid SEO, Great Digital Marketing, and Lots of Common Good Sense About Your Brand
[00:42:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the idea is to say the videos themselves, which are me recorded speaking like this in this beautiful red shirt, with a slide deck behind me so that I can show information that supports what I’m saying and helps with understanding and helps digest all this information, because it is a lot of information, very fast. But it’s information that is good sense, common sense, and great marketing, great digital marketing, and very, very, very solid SEO.
[00:43:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, basically, whatever happens when you’re doing this course, you will learn solid SEO, great digital marketing, great marketing, and lots of common good sense about your brand. And you will start to build your brand from the Brand SERP up. And I think for me, that’s what’s come out of doing these courses is I’m realising that I now no longer approach SEO from a page and keyword level, as we were saying earlier on. I say, what is my brand, who am I, what do I do, what do I offer, and why am I such a great solution for Google’s users? And I need to build that from the Brand SERP out.
Product SERPs: If You Build the Perfect Product SERP, Your Product Will Probably Rank for All Those Keywords
[00:43:49] Craig Campbell: And that’s a job in itself, right? If you really wanted to go all out with that, you probably could have a person dedicated to Brand SERP and a person dedicated to products or services.
[00:44:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. Exactly. And as you rightly say, a product SERP is a type of Brand SERP. Somebody will search for a product, and it’s the same thing. You need to control it. You need to make it perfect. And if you build those, if you build the perfect product SERP, then your product will probably rank for all those great keywords, the generic keywords outside of it, because you’ve created such a great ecosystem, digital ecosystem around it. And Google understands a) what it is, b) what it does, c) where it will serve its users, and d) that your audience engages with you and with it, and that your product is important and interesting for its users.
Kalicube Pro Offers a Five Course Bundle or You Can Take Your Pick on Any Specific Topic You Need
[00:44:40] Craig Campbell: Cool. But as I see, the point I wanted to get across was your course is more of a visual course. It’s got a 13-page PDF. You buy a course and you get out and you’re like, fuck. There’s a lot of time and effort being put into it. He has get his red shirt on. You can get the course on courses.Kalicube.Pro/courses. And as I see, you can get the five course bundle for 600 euros or you can take your pick on any of the specifics that you may need information on.
[00:45:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Taking the pick thing, I agree with you, it was a great idea. It wasn’t my idea initially. It was actually Nils De Moor from WooRank who was talking to me about it. And we came up with the idea together. But that idea is saying, I just need the fundamentals and I need to get started. You just buy that. You get started. You see how it goes. Then you think, oh, I want the video boxes. You buy the Rich Elements course. And then you learn to trigger video boxes, Twitter boxes, podcast boxes, image boxes.
[00:45:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you’ve got a problem, you only need the getting rid of negative content course. You want a Knowledge Panel? You only need that one, the Knowledge Panel one. And then personal Brand SERPs, obviously as a person, I don’t need a lot of the stuff that’s going to be in the business oriented ones. I just want stuff about people. And people have the problem of ambiguous names like Craig Campbell or Jason Barnard. That’s a very specific problem that a lot of brands don’t have.
[00:46:07] Craig Campbell: Yeah.
[00:46:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, yeah, you pick and choose because each of us has different needs. And I think that’s, I think I made a smart decision to do it that way because it makes the entry much cheaper. It’s only about 100 euros to get into the fundamentals course and allows people just to buy the bits they need.
The Courses Are Communicating to People How They Can Help Themselves With Their Brand SERPs and Make It Sexy and Convincing
[00:46:27] Craig Campbell: Yeah, no, it makes a lot of sense. I think, for what I can see, it’s definitely the right decision. But anything else we can add to you, Jason? Is there anything else you want to share about your course that I’ve maybe not asked?
[00:46:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I would say actually, a) I’m incredibly enthusiastic. You know me really well, Craig. And anybody who’s seen me on any of the shows, any shows or webinars or in conferences, I’m like this all the time. I can’t help it. This is who I am. And the course is like this. It really is trying to communicate to people how they can help themselves with their Brand SERPs and make that Brand SERP really, really sexy and convincing.
[00:47:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is I’m really proud of this course. I would take it. I would pay for my own course from what I learned just from researching it. Because every time I’m about to say something, and that was the rewriting thing that I learned is as I rewrote it, I thought, do I know this or do I just think it? And if I thought I only think it, I don’t actually know it, I set out to prove it, to figure it out. And then when I did say it, I knew it. And it wasn’t just something I thought or imagined. Everything in here is stuff I’ve tested. It’s all stuff I’ve done. None of it in there is something I haven’t done.
Recommending Jason’s Course About Brand SERPs Because a Lot of Time, Hard Work, Research, and Dedication Went into It
[00:47:48] Craig Campbell: And that’s important, I think, to prove what you’ve done and not just say because someone else said it, which is what a lot of people do in this industry. They go, yeah, sounds quite good, I’ll just throw that into my next talk. Whether it works or not, it’s irrelevant. But I’m pleased to know that a lot of time, hard work, research, and dedication has went into it. And if anyone out there is interested in learning more about that, I would highly recommend using Jason’s course.
[00:48:22] Craig Campbell: As Jason said, we have met loads of times all over the world, genuine, honest, trustworthy guy, speaks at events all over the world. As I say, it’s something that I think a lot of people are missing out on. And I’ve been missing out on it as well, Jason. I’m not going to lie. It’s something I’m starting to implement now. I’ve been in this industry 18 years. And it’s only probably in the last 18 months I’ve really started to switch on and go, right, this is actually important.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Is Getting Information From His Database of Brand SERPs
[00:48:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I initially thought, seven years ago when I started working on it, this is something I’ll do for a few months and I’ll get bored or it won’t be important or I’ll run out of things to do. And seven years later, I’m still learning every day. Every time I open up, I’ve got a database of 75,000 brands and people that I’m tracking. And I’m tracking the Brand SERPs. So, I’ve got a database of tens of millions of lines of Brand SERPs that I can look into.
[00:49:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if somebody says to me, in this industry, what elements tend to appear? I can tell you. And I can tell you from data. I can tell you from my collection of Brand SERPs. And if somebody asks me a specific question about a Brand SERP, I can find information somewhere in that 75,000 brands, which is also in the course. I’m using this data for the course.
[00:49:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s things I’ve done, things I’ve achieved, successes I’ve had, failures I’ve had as well, which is important too. To remember that when I get it wrong, it teaches me what I need to tell you so you don’t get it wrong. And backed up with data, backed up with fact checking, and backed up with me actually doing it.
Hoping to Once Again Meet Each Other in Person at Some Conference Somewhere in the World
[00:50:02] Craig Campbell: It all sounds very, very good. And as I say, get your fingers out, guys. If you’re not doing it already, start doing it, take it seriously because I think, as we go on, it’s going to become more and more important to dominate those positions. But, Jason, I want to thank you for your time again and great insights. And obviously, it’s always good to catch up anyway because I’ve not seen you for, I think Vegas might have been the last time I saw you.
[00:50:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Eight or nine months. Yeah.
[00:50:36] Craig Campbell: We’ve seen every other month somewhere.
[00:50:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s true.
[00:50:39] Craig Campbell: But obviously with lockdown and stuff, it’s not been a great year in terms of traveling.
[00:50:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, it’s not been. My digital nomad days came to a very sudden and abrupt end.
[00:50:54] Craig Campbell: Yeah. But fingers-crossed, it’s near the end, and we can get back out and get back to conferences and sharing a beer.
[00:51:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’m looking forward to bumping into you again at some conference somewhere around the world. That’d be amazing.
[00:51:09] Craig Campbell: Yeah, no, I’m sure we will, but thank you very much again for being on today.
[00:51:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much for having me. That was amazing. And that was really, really good fun.
[00:51:18] Craig Campbell: No worries.